Rock Melon Sago Dessert

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Whoa,
I have not posted for 3 whole months?!

But I did not abandon my kitchen in the last 3 months. I just never found the time to take the photos and blog about the recipes or I ended up randomly cooking things that do not have recipes teehee.

Anyway, today is the first day of the Chinese New Year! which is a big thing for the chinese people;
for the old, it’s a time to gather and visit the people whom they have not seen for a year;
for the young, it’s a time to show off their new clothes and get money in the form of red packets.

Cny always bewildered me because
1. Why do people only visit other people once a year? If those people really did matter, wouldn’t you visit them more often?
2. Young people, like me, get very bored visiting other people because as I mentioned earlier, these people are people you visit only once a year which means I don’t really know them.
3. It’s the time of the year to show off who wears red clothes better and who bought the trendiest new clothes. Problem is I always struggle to buy new nice clothing for Cny and I always end up wearing ‘old’ clothes and get judged by my cousin.

Okay, I seem to dislike Chinese traditions quite a bit but there are always upsides to this Cny period.
1. Long holidays, especially when there’s no one to visit.
2. Cny goodies (which requires another post; my mother makes the best pineapple tarts)
3. Cny meals (steamboats, elaborate reunion dinners, yummmmms)

So this Cny lunch, I made a rock melon sago dessert for everybody.

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Thing was that it was a bit too sweet, but i guess sweet is good during Cny because the Chinese has a phrase “甜甜蜜蜜” which literally means sweet honey but figuratively means that your relationships will be sweet and sticky in a good way.

My favourite part about this recipe is that I get to scoop melon balls! Reminds me of my primary school days where I would bring a watermelon bowl for any class party. Loved those watermelon bowls! I should do them one day again, except that watermelon is so expensive in Singapore right now ): I miss my $2 watermelons.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, adapted from a local website
but with sugar cut down by a whole lot.

Rock Melon Sago Dessert 
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
1 small rock melon
1/4 cup sago
2 cups water for cooking the sago
1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup water
200ml coconut milk with ½ teaspoon salt

Directions
1. Cook 1/4 white sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
2. Boil the 2 cups of water until it is on a rolling boil, then add the sago in. Turn down to medium heat and whisk constantly for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes, turn off the fire and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the sago to cook in the residual heat until you see very few white dots left (about 10 minutes).
4. While waiting, use a melon baller to scoop out balls of rock melon.
5. Scrap out the remaining rock melon bits and put them into a blender.
6. Blend the rock melon scraps with the sugar syrup and place in your serving bowl.
7. Add in the coconut milk.
8. Once the sago is done, rinse it under tap water to remove the excess starch. Then stir it into the serving bowl.
9. Add the rock melon bowls into the serving bowls too.
10. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving!

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Chocolate Swirl Buns

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I haven’t been in the baking mood for so long but just today, I felt like I really needed some chocolate bread in my life, so here comes some Chocolate Swirl Buns which are more chocolate than buns but I’m not complaining 🙂

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These chocolate buns will cheer anyone up so if you’re feeling sad like me, make them and stuff yourself silly with them. Heh. Going to be back at KTPH again, this time for Ortho, and I heard that we have to be there by 7am for ward rounds?! The only thing that will make me wake up so early would be eating these chocolate buns for my breakfast haha.

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Also, D recently bought a sous vide machine from America and we made the most most tender chicken breast I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. I mean tender and chicken breast aren’t usually found together but slow cooking that piece of meat for 4 hours works wonders. Sous vide sounds like atas cooking but it’s actually the simplest thing to do, you just pack the meat in a plastic bag and just dump it in a pot of water at the temperature you want. That’s simply lazy cooking for mind blowing food. Though you’re not going to find a sous vide machine in my house any time soon because my mom has a preconceived notion that cooking food in plastic bags are going to kill you. Are they?

But you might find a new Le Creuset skillet in my house soon 🙂 I love how it’s year-end and the stores are having lots of sale so we are waiting it out for the best deal for that expensive cast iron skillet. Anyone has any recipes that will shine on the Le Creuset skillet?

Lastly but most importantly!! Christmas is coming and Christmas is definitely more than just presents and turkeys. It’s all about the birth of our Saviour who has come down to save us from the judgement that sin has condemned us to.

Through faith in the perfect life, sacrificial death, and triumphant resurrection of Christ, we are brought from death to life.

Leave a comment or ask any Christian around you if you want to know more about this wonderful grace we have received 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Ingredients
Bread Dough
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg, brought to room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
45 grams salted butter, at room temperature

Chocolate filling
45 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
50 grams granulated sugar
200 grams semisweet chocolate
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Warm milk and a pinch of sugar to 43- 46 degrees Celsius.
2. Sprinkle yeast over the milk and let it stand for 15 minutes until it is frothy.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and the sugar.
4. Add the yeast mixture into the egg mixture.
5. Prepare your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
6. In your mixing bowl, sift in the flour. Switch on the stand mixer on low and slowly incorporate the egg-yeast mixture until well-combined.
7. Add butter and mix until well-combined.
8. Change mixer to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 10 minutes.
9. After 10 minutes, place the dough in a generously buttered bowl, cover it with a tea towel and place it in warm place for it to rise and double in size. It will take about 1 hour.
10. Meanwhile, place the chocolate, sugar and cinnamon in a blender and blitz till the chocolate becomes powder consistency.
11. Add the butter into the blender and blitz. Store it in the fridge until it’s time to use.
12. After dough has risen, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. If your dough is too sticky to handle, knead it with more flour. Let it rest on your tabletop for 5 minutes.
13. After 5 minute, roll it out into a large rectangle. The width should be 12 inches while the length should be about 20 inches.
14. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture on top of the dough.
15. Start rolling from one end.
16. Butter your muffin tins.
17. Using a serrated knife, cut 1 inch segments off the log and place them in the muffin tins.
18. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
19. Let the rolls rest and rise again for another 30 minutes, making sure you cover them with the tea towel.
20. After 30 minutes, place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the buns are puffed up and brown. Enjoy! 🙂

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Caramelised Onion, Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

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Quiches are one of those cafe foods with exorbitantly high prices for extremely small slices. But people still buy them because it seems impossible to make it at home. Or at least, it involves a lot of effort. I always thought it impossible to make quiche in my kitchen but one day, my hunger got the better of me. I figured nothing was too difficult for Claudia. I made it and it turned out beautiful.

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So here I am to break down the whole process of quiche-making for you, from one beginner to another 🙂

The shortcrust pastry 

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Tip #1: Never use your hands to rub the butter into the flour.
If you’re living in a hot and sunny place like Singapore, chances are, your butter is going to melt in your hands and you won’t get the flaky texture of the pastry. The flakiness comes about because the butter is layered in between the flour. So use a food processor, if you have one, or even better, a pastry cutter. The aim is to get butter chunks of different sizes, coated in flour. So don’t pulse the butter and flour for too long in the food processor either.

Tip #2: All ingredients and equipment should be cold.
As mentioned above, you don’t want things to start melting. So like whipping the perfect cream, fridge all your ingredients and equipment until you use them, so that everything is nice and cold.

Tip #3: Know your dough.
If you feel that your dough is a bit wet and still sticking onto your hands, be brave and add more flour while kneading it. Dough that is too wet will not give you a flaky crust.

Tip #4: Fridge the dough and the tart adequately.
This allows the gluten to relax and the butter to firm up.

Tip #5: Cling wrap and flour are your friends.
Rolling out the dough always scared the shit out of me. Especially when I remember the countless of times that I have failed. But I have found a way to make the task less daunting. Generously flour your work surface, then place the ball of dough on top while leaving the cling wrap above the dough. Roll on top of the cling wrap so that the dough would not stick to the rolling pin. When transferring the dough to the tin, wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin with the cling wrap still on. Tadah! I’m sorry I don’t have pictures for each step, I’ll try to take some the next time I make shortcrust pastry again.

The filling

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Tip #1: Start classic
So far, I’ve tried two classic variations – (i) bacon and leek (ii) caramelised onions, bacon and mushrooms, and they both taste amazing. Do a simple google search to find out the classic combinations for quiche so that your first taste won’t be a disappointment. Next up for me is smoked salmon, dill and goat cheese 🙂

Tip #2: Then go crazy
Once you get comfortable with quiche-making, it’s time to go crazy and creative! 🙂

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Ingredients
shortcrust pastry
225g plain flour
150g cold cubed butter
1 medium sized egg

quiche filling
250ml milk
250ml whipping cream
4 eggs
150g grated cheddar cheese
5 yellow onions, caramelised
6 button mushrooms, quartered
150g diced bacon

Directions
1. Fridge the food processor, plain flour, butter, egg until you need to use it.
2. In the food processor, blitz the plain flour and butter.
3. Pour everything out, make a well, and crack the egg in the well.
4. Stir the mixture with a butter knife until the dough just comes together
5. Lightly knead with hands.
6. Cling wrap the dough and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. After 30 minutes, roll out the dough onto a 9 inch tart tin. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
9. Using a fork, poke the base of the tart to prevent the tart from rising upwards while baking.
10. (Putting baking beans on the tart is optional) Place the tart in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
11. In a pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon.
12. In the same pan, sauté the mushrooms.
13. Whisk the milk, whipping cream and eggs with salt and pepper.
14. In a pre-baked tart, smear caramelised onions on the bottom of the tart.
15. Scatter the bacon and mushrooms all over.
16. Sprinkle the grated cheese over, before pouring in the milk-cream-egg mixture.
17. Place in oven, pre-heated at 160 degrees and bake for 45 minutes until it is golden and filling is set

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